New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Wendy from Book Scents. After years of begging I finally got her to read my all time favorite book (I have read it at least 14 times), Anna and the French Kiss! I won’t lie, I was nervous assigning this book to someone. It’s hard to hear if someone doesn’t love a favorite, but I can happily report Wendy did not let me down, and Anna didn’t let her down either. Come check out her review and enter my giveaway for a copy!

New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ a giveaway}Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: December 2, 2010
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four-half-stars

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss is one of those quintessential YA books that everyone seems to have read and everyone talks about! Except me! To be honest, I was worried that it would be too fluffy and I wanted to love it like everyone else! The fear of not loving it made me keep putting it off until my good friend Andi laid down an ultimatum on our friendship to have to read it. Just kidding!! I am so glad I finally read it though and I shouldn’t have worried about too much fluff at all!

Anna gets sent off to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year and she’s not happy about it. As she slowly makes friends though, she begins to fall in love with the city — not to mention a certain boy named Etienne. I have a terrible case of wanderlust and anytime I read books set in different locales, my wanderlust feelings flare. This was no exception! I absolutely loved seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes as she gradually goes out and explores the city and sights! She loves film and makes it a point to visit different theaters and I wanted to be there with her! And of course, how better to see a new city than with the swooniest boy at your side?

I LOVED Etienne so so much. I get it now, you guys! The British accent, that certain something that just grabs you from the first second you meet this boy! He is sweet, funny, caring– and has a girlfriend. This is that major something that tripped me up in this book. I couldn’t stand how long he was with that girl. She’s not actually IN the book a whole lot but I didn’t expect him to still be “with” her for the majority of the book! So that aspect kept hanging over me the whole time and I wish it wasn’t so!!

However, that aside, I really loved everything else. I liked how real the friendships Anna made at school felt. Sometimes in YA, certain aspects can seem below the age range but everything felt so authentic here. Anna’s thoughts and feelings were spot on for a teen senior. I really appreciated that! There is also depth in relationships, both familial and romantic, and much about finding yourself.

I really enjoyed this one so much! A combination of vicariously living abroad through Anna and a dreamy boy made for such a perfect YA contemporary. I can’t wait to read the rest of the companion books!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 30, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Wendy for signing up for New to You and finally listening to me about my favorite book!

My Anna and the French Kiss review.

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: August 14th 2014
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five-stars

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

In 2010 a very good friend of mine said one thing to me that essentially changed my life. She said, ‘read Anna and the French Kiss’. Having only dabbled in reading in the past and slightly getting more into it I agreed and nothing has been the same. I have read that one book 8 times, its companion Lola and the Boy Next Door twice and most recently Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Isla was a book that I have been anticipating for years, half scared it would let down, half scared it would be amazing and leave me wanting more. Well, I can tell you I was right to be scared…I WANT MORE! Holy swoon-worthy fantastic batman. From start to finish it was everything I have come to expect, love and crave from the hands of Stephanie Perkins.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the story of Isla Martin, a shy girl you catch a glimpse of in Anna and the French Kiss, and Josh Wasserstein, Etienne St. Clair’s best friend, also in Anna and the French Kiss. Isla has had a crush on Josh for 3 solid years, always on the outside looking in at him and his friends. But things are different in their senior year. Josh’s friends have all graduated and he is alone and accessible like never before. In a twist of fate Josh and Isla cross paths in an unexpected location that changes things for both of them in ways they never could have imagined. What once seemed impossible might not be that way. However, nothing is ever easy. Especially if the worse things you feel about yourself start to threaten the things you always thought you wanted. And for Josh and Isla those things might just be each other.

It’s funny because in Anna and the French Kiss you don’t really even think twice about Isla. If you haven’t read the book as many times as I have you may not even notice her. And Josh, he was a great secondary character and sidekick to St. Clair, but not someone you really thought about. But I was super excited when I learned these were our two leads in Isla and the Happily Ever After. There was something that fascinated me about what I did know about them and it piqued my curiosity. Isla was your every day, uncertain, shy teenage girl that had a crush on a guy she thought was out of reach. And Josh was the guy that seemed to not care about anything when he really cared about everything. He was sad and lonely and needed something to make him say it was okay to feel. There was a connection there that is hard to explain other than saying these two were filled with magic. And as the book progressed they changed as people and grew in ways they never would have. Magic I tell you, magic.

Another thing that Perkins does well is the secondary characters. Isla had some great people in her life that taught her things that made her grow as a person separate from her connection with Josh. Kurt was a fascinating addition that was able to be Isla’s voice of reason. He told her things she didn’t want to hear about herself but needed to hear. And then you have her sister Hattie. She was perfect with her pouting and mean façade but really she was a representation that change is scary and people act all sorts of ways when they are scared. These two characters added not only to Isla but to the story as a whole. Perfection

Honestly reviewing this book is hard for me. It’s bittersweet because of this trilogy, all of these characters, mean something to me. It sounds weird but reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was the end of an era. It was like graduating and leaving everything behind. I almost felt like Josh did, all alone after losing my friends. But in true Perkins fashion she went out with a bang that made my heart sore, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my heartaches with longing. She gave me two new fantastic characters to love and brought in pieces of ones that I loved from the past. So with that, I thank you, Ms. Perkins, for giving me these books and these characters and for doing something even more important, making me a reader.

Read these books if you haven’t. Read them again if you have.
Anna and the French Kiss REVIEW
Lola and the Boy Next Door REVIEW

 

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Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

I have no idea how I managed to never review this book, But I’m fixing that…NOW!

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: September 29th 2011
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five-stars

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

 

What can I say about Lola Nolan? What can I say about Lola and the Boy Next Door? What can I say about the boy next door, Cricket Bell? Awesome is what I can say about them! This book was awesome.

After reading Anna and the French Kiss I was worried. I loved that book so hard it was impossible to live up to my expectation. I mean how was Stephanie Perkins going to make me feel the same things about Lola and Cricket that I did about Anne and Etienne? It wasn’t possible. But was she did do was make me feel other things. New things for new characters and I love her for that.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is the story of Lola Nolan. Lola lives life to the beat of her own drum. She wears sparkles and wild costumes and bright colors, all at the same time, and doesn’t care. She is her own person and that is all that matters to her. That and her rocker boyfriend Max. Until one day, the day Lola dreaded most in the world, the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return net door and her life turns upside down. Feelings that she thought were dead and buried start to resurface and Lola doesn’t know how to react. All she knows is that she once was head over heels for the boy next door and she can’t go there again. Too bad Cricket isn’t planning to make it so easy.

Oh, this book. This book! First off it had a completely different feel to it than Anna. It wasn’t a story about two strangers with an attraction that forms a friendship. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the story about two people with a history. It’s about two people that were once uncomfortable in their own skin figuring out who they are and being okay with it. It’s about two people that were friends for a long time and when something was blossoming between them other circumstances took over. It’s about that first crush and if those feelings ever really go away. Lola may be out there with all of her costumes and her crazy style, but she really is a girl that you can relate to because we have all been Lola at some point in our lives and we have all had out Cricket in one way or another. I think that is what made this book so easy to love. It felt real.

I guess that is the thing about the writing of Stephanie Perkins. She gets you invested.

There really isn’t much that I can say about this book that hasn’t been said. It’s another one of those stories that just makes you feel good and want to get wrapped up in the lives of these people. Whether it is Lola and Cricket, Lola’s parents Andy and Nathan, her Lindsey, Calliope, whoever, you are invested in their well being. You want them to succeed and to be happy. Perkins created a gem with Anna and gave us something new with Lola that I will forever be happy was a part of my life.

REVIEW of Anna and the French Kiss
REVIEW of Isla and the Happily Ever After is coming soon
#IslaIsComing Readalong sign-up

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Second Chance Sunday – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I don’t know if you guys have heard, but I freaking love love love today’s Second Chance Sunday. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned my love of St. Clair or of Anna or of every single thing about Anna and the French Kiss. Yeah, I’m certain I have never mentioned my love of it or the fact that I have read it four times. 😀 In all seriousness I know I have told every single one of you that you need to read this book whether you have read it or not and I’m here again to tell you all to read even if you already have. Love, just love!

Second Chance Sunday – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: December 16th 2013
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five-stars

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

 


I have read this book three times now, yes 3*, and it has somehow gotten better each time I pick it up. There is something about this story that just makes me feel good and. Find myself going back to it again and again. It gives me this feeling of peace that is hard to describe. Between the friendships, the relationships and the back drop of Paris it transports me to a very happy place that I don’t seem to want to leave or forget.

The book is about Anna, a girl from Atlanta, that is forced to go to Paris for her last year of high school. Not knowing the language or anyone at her new school Anna is left alone and missing her best friend Bridgette and her crush that was possibly turning into something more, Toph. She is surrounded by unfamiliar everything and all she wants to do is go back to the safety of Atlanta. And then her next door neighbor Meredith takes her in and introduces her to her friends and the one boy that changes everything, St. Clair. Etienne St. Clair, the boy dreams are made of. All of a sudden France isn’t so bad. Pretty soon Anna has a life in France and friends, Meredith, Josh, Rashmi and St. Clair. They break Anna out of her shell and comfort zone and show her Paris isn’t so bad. And when things start to get complicated at home Anna wants nothing more then to retreat back to the place she had been desperate to escape, back to St. Clair. Too bad there are two problems with this. She is not only head over heels in love with him but he has a girlfriend.

I honestly don’t know how to even begin to describe Anna and Etienne’s relationship. It is so perfectly crush worthy, adorable that I’m not sure I can give it justice. I mean reading about these two made me crave that feeling you get when you have an honest to God crush. The anticipation you feel when you see that crush was the feeling I got with every page I turned and Anna and St. Clair went from buddies to Anna and Etienne, maybe more then buddies, to Anna and St. Clair that won’t cross any lines to Anna and Etienne the couple crazy about each other. Every emotion they felt, every conflict of uncertainty that was there I felt too and that made the characters and this couple in particular a work of greatness. And the way that Perkins showed cased Anna’s feelings, towards this boy that had her all over the place,  by having Anna call him St. Clair and Etienne was just masterful and the perfect way to describe their ever changing relationship.

Stephanie Perkins wrote an amazingly superb book about figuring out what you want out of life, dealing with crushes and relationships and knowing what is worth it. Truthfully I will never accurately describe the amazingness of this book and the feelings it gives me. It is pretty impossible to put into words. Maybe the fact that I have read it 3 times in less then 2 years will help. Haha. A definite must read…at least once.

*count is now up to 10. 🙂

As an added bonus, here is what I dressed Anna in for a challenge that was requested of me. Basically sums up the character in my opinion.

anna

Have you read Anna yet? What do you think of my version of what she would wear? Did I do good?

 

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